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19 weeks pregnant

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Foetus at 19 weeks pregnantYour baby at 19 weeks

  • At 19 weeks her nervous system is developing - she can smell, her taste buds can detect a sweet taste and she can tell the difference between light and dark.
  • She can also hear better and will jump if startled by a loud noise. The amniotic fluid muffles sounds but even so she can hear your tummy rumbling, the blood whooshing through the umbilical cord and your heart beat. If you lay her on top of the left side of your chest when she's born, she will be comforted by your familiar heartbeat. Research shows that your baby will first hear a tone at 500HZ (like a guitar string) and then lower tones before being able to tune in to higher ones. She will learn to recognise your voice.
  • You may feel her kick you but her foot is tiny, the size of one of your fingernails. Increasingly, her movements are more deliberate and less random and uncontrolled as her brain is making more sophisticated connections.
  • Her vagina is becoming hollow, or if your baby is a boy he will be developing the start of a penis and have a solid swelling that will become his scrotum. His testes will not move into his scrotum for many weeks. If your baby is facing the right way, an ultrasound scan would be able to show the sex of your baby.
  • She is growing rudimentary breast tissue, and both boys and girls will be developing nipples now.
     

Your body at 19 weeks pregnant

  • Blood cells You are busy making red blood cells because, boy, do you need them. You have a larger than usual circulation and you need to get more blood cells into that fluid circulating round your body so that you can get oxygen to both your organs and your baby's developing body. This is the time when your red blood cell production catches up with the extra fluid in your circulation. This should make you feel more energetic. Your antenatal team will check you've made enough red blood cells, as it's important not to get anaemic.
  • Your breasts They are getting more ready for breastfeeding and the glands that produce milk are getting bigger. The blood supply to your breasts also increases.
  • Heartburn This plagues about half of all women throughout their pregnancy. It's caused by both the baby pressing on your stomach and the pregnancy hormones. Progesterone, in particular, relaxes the valve at the entrance to the stomach so that digestive juices and acid in the stomach come back up the oesophagus. This causes heartburn (behind the breastbone), an unpleasant taste in the mouth (water brash, which is watery acid) and sometimes stomach pain. Avoid huge meals, especially before bed. Lying flat makes it worse so raise the foot of the bed or your pillows, but obviously not both. You can take antacids and there is evidence that stronger tablets, such as proton pump inhibitors that stop your stomach making acid, are safe in pregnancy.
  • Movement You may feel your baby moving now but don't worry if you can't - it can depend where your baby is lying. It can be strange but is usually exciting when you feel your baby's first movements. If you place your partner's or a friend's hands on your stomach to share the moment you can guarantee they won't feel it. The movements need to be stronger for those not carrying your baby to feel them.
  • Eating Don't forget to eat healthily - bouts of constipation may encourage you to do so. Fruit and anything fibrous are good, they should make up a quarter to a third of your diet. If your bowels are sluggish do not take any laxatives that have an effect on your bowel by speeding it up, as these are drugs that can also make your uterus contract. Not a good thing for now. Go for regular walks and drink enough fluid. Your body has a brilliant thirst mechanism to remind you to drink, but if you are feeling hot you may need to drink a little more.

 

 

The Day by Day Pregnancy Book coverIllustrations taken from the bestselling book The Day-by-Day Pregnancy Book, £25, published by DK.

Disclaimer: The information in the pregnancy calendar is for general information and is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or antenatal team. Not all babies develop at the same time and in the same way, so this week-by-week guide may not always match your own experience. If you have any worries, consult your antenatal team or GP.

Last updated: 16-Jul-2014 at 4:46 PM